Restaurant Reviews from Crusty
Stoop Your Head restaurant
Harbour Road, Skerries, Skerries, Dublin, Area Code: North Co. Dublin
Reviewed 10th July 2011 ( visited 08th July 2011 )For my partner and I "Stoops" is a favourite place to eat. It is a pub but the food is as far from pub-grub as its possible to get. On this visit we ordered Calamari which is served with a salad and sweet chili sauce - €8. For mains we both ordered one of the "specials"; Baked Hake with Roasted Red Peppers and a Spiced Butter Sauce. At €16.95 the main course was a bargain for the simple reason that it was as good a fish course as I have had in any restaurant. OK, Stoops is a pub but I wish more pubs could offer this kind of quality food - then, maybe, restaurants would be forced to up their game and lower their prices. If you do happen to be in Stoops, and the Hake is on the menu, try a bottle of Secret, Chilean Savignon Blanc - its perfect for this delicate fish. Oh and before I forget, the staff at Stoops, who are quite often under pressure, are always friendly and efficient. As with any business, this is a key factor in holding customer loyalty. I hope the owner rewards them accordingly.
O' Gradys On The Pier (Barna) restaurant
Seapont, Barna, Barna, Galway
Reviewed 23rd February 2011 ( visited 15th December 2010 )On a wet Wednesday in December O'Gradys on the Pier ticked all the boxes. The open fire set the scene. I was in a party of six and we were warmly welcomed by the reataurant staff. The place wasn't busy and the service was friendly - without being too fussy. I started with a Yellow Pepper and Goats Cheese salad followed by the Black Sole, simply grilled and presented on the bone. For desert I sampled the Creme Brulee - mmmmm. The others in our party tried almost everything on the menu - there were no complaints. This place is a gem which I can wholeheartedly recommend.
Citron @ Fitzwilliam Hotel
The Fitzwilliam Hotel, St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, City Centre South, Dublin
I had heard about Citron but it was the attractive Menupages deal that ultimately caused me to visit. As usual I was accompanied by my better half and she started with the Hand Dived Scallops which she enjoyed but thought petite. I had the Lobster Tortellini which was very good. Two amuse-bouche were served; I won’t spoil the surprise for others but they certainly entertained. We both ordered the Halibut which was served with blue cheese gnocchi, clams and mussels. The fish fillet was vast and maybe this explains why it was slightly overcooked. The Poached Pear desert was excellent. The service throughout was efficient and discrete. Citron appears to be trying to excel and I’m certain that its reputation and popularity will grow and grow.
9 James Terrace, Malahide, Dublin, Malahide, Dublin
Having recently visited the Michelin starred Bon Appetite Restaurant, we decided to sample the, less expensive, Brasserie at the same establishment. While it doesn’t pretend to have the same level of cuisine, the Brasserie’s petite menu is attractive and the prices reflect it’s “less than Michelin” status. I started with Pumpkin Soup which was delicious and was accompanied by copious portions of freshly baked bread. My partners starter Goats Cheese and Caramelised Shallot Tart was simple but tasty. We both chose Cod for mains and were impressed by the chunky fillet which arrived. The fish was served on a Chorizo and Mixed Bean Cassoulet which was appetising but tended to overpower the delicate fish. So far so good. Regrettably the deserts were a let down. Mine, Millionaires Shortbread, resembled a naked Twix bar and was chewy. The accompanying Pistachio Ice Cream was memorable. My partners Buttermilk and Honey Panacotta was a little heavy on the buttermilk and the accompanying Lavender Shortbread was more Coco Chanel than Michel Roux. A word about the no-fuss service; good but there is no excuse for serving room temperature white wine. The total bill, including a first rate Loire Sauvignon Blanc (near Sancerre) came to just over €90. Affordable, but it could have been so much better.
15 Townyard Lane, Malahide, Malahide, Dublin
The Greedy Goose was buzzing when we visited. We expressed a preference for a window seat and our friendly server obliged. The tasting menu here offers a wide range of starter sized options. We chose the "Duo of steamed lemon sole and salmon, lemon and herb emulsion, boxty potato cake", "Pan fried sea bass, chorizo and roasted red pepper crushed potato, black olive tapenade, sauce vierge" and "pan-fried tiger prawns on sirloin steak in Sambuca sauce". It looked good on the menu and didn’t disappoint. Sadly the lemon meringue Creme Brulee was sold out but the Trio de Café substituted well. The “house white”, a decent 2010 Chilean Sauvignon Blanc provided a suitably balanced (and economic) accompaniment to an altogether memorable meal.
Whytes of Stamullen
Stamullen Village, Stamullin, Meath
We dined here on a damp Thursday and there were a reasonable number of customers in the dining room. The menu looks impressive but our food did not live up to expectations. The enthusiastic service here couldn't compensate for the ordinary food. With such an extensive menu, I hope to revisit and try it again but on this visit I can only report dissapointment. Sorry.
109a Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2, City Centre South, Dublin
L’Ecrivain was out of my price range until Menupages offered a two for one dinner offer. Since then I have been back there on a couple of occasions. While it's not cheap, L'Ecrivain is the (Michelin) star of dining in Dublin. On my latest visit I mistakenly ordered duck and regretted my choice. Noticing the disappointed look on my face, the maître d'hôtel insisted that I choose an alternative dish. I chose wisely, the Wild Sea Bass was fantastic. The wine waiter advised a 2011 Albarino and it too was fantastic. As I said, it's not cheap but with this kind of service it's great value. I can not fault L’Ecrivain, dining doesn’t come better than this.
Seasons Cafe, Deli and Homewares
11 Strand St, Skerries, Dublin
Good summer weather is never guaranteed in Ireland so on a cold showery Friday we were glad to find a seat at Seasons in Skerries. The decor is "beach house in Marthas Vineyard". The cuisine is light and homey. The service is excellent and the server did not complain about the number of times we made her go up and down the stairs (note to owner - install a dumb-waiter soon). My partner had the chowder, I had the red pepper and tomatoe soup- both delicious. We shared a very nice ham & cheese toastie -mmm and asked the servers suggestion for cake. The recommended carrot cake arrived and did not disappoint. The staff refused, point blank, to reveal the recipe. This means I'm going to have to visit Seasons again and again and again.....
12 Mill Street, Balbriggan, Balbriggan, Dublin
We visited the Thai Gourmet Restaurant in Balbriggan on a slow night - only four other customers at 7.30pm. The room is nicely decorated (a large tree trunk from floor to ceiling with leafy branches covering the whole ceiling) and the lighting is atmospheric. The front of house staff are friendly and efficient. We ordered the Satay starter and the portions were generous (€6). For mains, my partner ordered the Beef Hotplate (€13) and I chose Duck Tamarind (€15). We thought that both were over-seasoned - requiring a second round of water. The house white (Cono Sur Tocornal 2010 Sav Blanc) was excellent and good value at €14.99. If I could ask for less seasoning, I would certainly return here.
1 Bryanstown Centre, Dublin Road, Drogheda, Louth
It was Tuesday night and the Eastern Seaboard was full - the celtic tiger isn't dead yet! The atmosphere at this Drogheda bar/grill is lively. The clientele varies between the girls night out brigade and more mature couples. The food here is well presented but ordinary, the menu tells you that. There is no attempt at originality. My partner ordered the Tiger Prawns which were served on a skewer and were a little solid. I ordered the 8oz Fillet which was cooked well beyond the mediun I asked for. The house white (Puna Snipe Sauvignon Blanc -Chile 2010) was a steal at €18. The service was professional, attentive and friendly without being intrusive. My partner puts great store in little things. She particularly liked the complementary water and the fresh mini bread loaf which was delivered to our table. The starched linen napkins also impressed. I would return to this restaurant but for a special occasion I would go elsewhere.
The Bay Tree @ Belvedere House
Newry Street, Carlingford, Louth
The Bay Tree had been on my radar since a friend recommended it to me and I finally made it to this restaurant recently. For starters my partner and I both ordered the Samosa of Duck - shredded duck breast in filo pastry, served with sweet chili and salad. Wonderful, I wanted more. For mains, my partner ordered the Rump of Lamb (with red cabbage and rosemary sauce) and I ordered the Fillet of Hake (served with a sauce tartare and chunky fries). The lamb was exactly as ordered, medium. The hake was special and a lot of skill had gone into creating the "fries". For desert my partner tried the Assiette of Lemon while I chose the Chocolate Fondant. These deserts were visually stunning and the flavours, while luxurious, were subtle. I can't adequately describe the food but I can say that this chef is at the top of his game - he obviously loves to create good food and the results are impressive. Front of house is a little unsteady at times and the wine list needs improvement, but for a top quality and creative menu, look no further.
Cafe Bar H
Grand Canal Plaza, Dublin 2, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin
On our way to the theatre my partner suggested a bite to eat. The first eatery we saw was Cafebar H, at Grand Canal Plaza. “What do you think the H stands for, Haute cuisine”? she said. “Maybe, Helpful staff” I replied. “Or Hearty portions” she suggested. Sadly, none of these apply. Having failed to attract the attention of any staff member, we hopped on to the first available table. Another ten minutes went by before my partner lassoed a server. I ordered the tapas special – crabcakes. What arrived was three, cocktail sausage sized, tasteless croquettes - €7. My partner’s hake and mussels arrived later in a tiny cast iron dish – a mini fish fillet with three mussels - €14. A glass of Cava and a Sauvignon Blanc set us back another €11. The whole experience made us feel that we’d been HAD – maybe that’s what the H is for.
The Olive Cafe
86a Strand Street, Skerries, Dublin
The weather was cool when my partner and I visited Olive but we chose to sit outside, at the on street seating area in Strand Street. The glazed screens kept the wind out and the server offered lap-rugs which we gratefully accepted. Olive's menu is simple delicatessen fare. The food, though simple, is high in quality. We ate a typical panini lunch (Traditional for me, Chevre for my partner) accompanied by an excellent Cappuchino. The service could not be faulted. Every silver lining has a cloud and Olive's cloud is the price. Slightly under €20 for two coffees and two paninis is a little steep for lunch, even in Skerries.
Gourmet Food Parlour Ballyboughal
Oldtown Road, Ballyboughal, Ballyboughal, Dublin
It was a wintery Wednesday in June when my partner and I visited the Gourmet Food Parlour at Grange. We had the signature salads and we were not dissappointed - in particular, the bread was real "gourmet" fare. A couple of two shot Cappucinos compensated for the rainy view. I'll go back here some sunny afternoon - if any occur!.
Blue Cafe Bar
Harbour Road Skerries, Skerries, Dublin
Blue must be the place to be in Skerries. Arrive here after 5 on Friday and you'll probably have a long wait for a table. After quite a long innings, Blue's menu has been updated since my last visit (the Buffalo Wings are still there:-). The service has also improved (it was never bad). I still believe that Stoops (almost next door) can have better fish dishes but it's even harder to get a table there (and the chairs are aweful for those who don't have inbuilt upholstery). Blue always has had a good wine list, if a little short (the Tussock Sav Blanc at 30euro is a guilty pleasure). Blue has a lot going for it, great atmosphere, comfortable seating, nice wine list, good service and a new menu. If they can keep an eye on quality control, customer satisfaction and the competition, their future is assured.
Kendals Restaurant @ Mount Juliet Conrad
Mount Juliet Conrad, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, Thomastown, Kilkenny
I visited Mount Juliet mainly for the golf course (which is a national treasure). Golf always makes me hungry so I skipped the starters and ordered the steak. The dry-aged (rare) sirloin was succulent and tender. It was accompanied by crispy red onions and thick cut fries. This is not what is normally categorised as "haute cuisine" but I ate with satisfaction and much enjoyment. I finished off my meal with a selection of ice creams and sorbet and a muscular Americano. The dining room is a little stuffy but very nice, with views of the river Nore flowing by. The service was efficient and friendly. The bill was lower than expected for a 5 star establishment. By the way, the breakfast here is outstanding but that's another story.
14/15 Trinity Street, Dublin , City Centre South, Dublin
Numerous previous visits to Pichet were rewarding but I suppose everyone has an off night and maybe my expectations were too high. The lamb breast starter was wonderful but the pork belly was missing its crispy crackling and was more fat than meat. Ah well, the creme brulee somewhat compensated and the 2008 St Digna Reserva erased some of the disappointment. We've been to Pichet quite a few times and I havent given up on it yet but tonights report card says "could do much better".
1 St Andrews Street, Dublin 2, City Centre South, Dublin
Salamanca is a lively, noisy eatery in a street full of decent restaurants. It's claim to fame is its tapas based menu. My advice to novices is to study the menu, on Menupages, before going, that way you won't be "thrown" by the tapas titles. My partner and I had Gambas Reboz (Prawns in garlic), Chuletas DeCordero (Grilled Lamb) and Lenguardo (Sole). The food was very good and the wine (Miguel Torres, Chilean Savignon Blanc) was great value at 19.95. A minor issue where a member of staff took our wine cooler, without checking if there was anything left in the bottle (there was), was deftly sorted by the manager. If you like intimacy take your date elsewhere but if you like a room with a buzz - this is it!
O' Gradys On The Pier (Barna)
Seapont, Barna, Barna, Galway
On a wet Wednesday in December O'Gradys on the Pier ticked all the boxes. The open fire set the scene. I was in a party of six and we were warmly welcomed by the reataurant staff. The place wasn't busy and the service was friendly - without being too fussy. I started with a Yellow Pepper and Goats Cheese salad followed by the Black Sole, simply grilled and presented on the bone. For desert I sampled the Creme Brulee - mmmmm. The others in our party tried almost everything on the menu - there were no complaints. This place is a gem which I can wholeheartedly recommend.
Stoop Your Head
Harbour Road, Skerries, Skerries, Dublin
For my partner and I "Stoops" is a favourite place to eat. It is a pub but the food is as far from pub-grub as its possible to get. On this visit we ordered Calamari which is served with a salad and sweet chili sauce - €8. For mains we both ordered one of the "specials"; Baked Hake with Roasted Red Peppers and a Spiced Butter Sauce. At €16.95 the main course was a bargain for the simple reason that it was as good a fish course as I have had in any restaurant. OK, Stoops is a pub but I wish more pubs could offer this kind of quality food - then, maybe, restaurants would be forced to up their game and lower their prices. If you do happen to be in Stoops, and the Hake is on the menu, try a bottle of Secret, Chilean Savignon Blanc - its perfect for this delicate fish. Oh and before I forget, the staff at Stoops, who are quite often under pressure, are always friendly and efficient. As with any business, this is a key factor in holding customer loyalty. I hope the owner rewards them accordingly.
Harveys Bar and Grill Restaurant (Above Harvest Bar & Lounge)
Main Street, Balbriggan, Balbriggan, Dublin
It had been almost six months since I last visited Harveys and I was curious to see how it had changed. I can report that the food is still good quality "grill" fare and the staff are still on the ball. I was glad to see that prices had come down - the Loaded Chicken (my favourite), which had been €14.95 in February, was now €12.00. Better still, the set menu offers two courses for €15.00 - I had Duck Spring rolls followed by the Loaded Chicken. The house white, a very acceptable Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, was a steal at €16.00. Don't expect Michelin Star Award standards but you won't pay MS prices either. This is a venue which is catering (very well) to it's target clientele.
George's Hill, Balbriggan, Dublin
I have been to Castellina Chianti on two previous occasions and I really want to like it. The service is friendly, however, there are one or two problems here which need attention. The food is ordinary and the restaurant is cold. They operate a delivery service and on my last visit, the delivery guy came in and out (the rear door) on a number of occasions, causing a cold wind to blow through the dining room. Neither myself or my partner removed our coats for the whole meal. There was a table of four ladies near us who also kept there coats on. We all asked the waiter to do something but to no avail. The prices here are reasonable and the wine list has a nice selection of value wines. Castellina Chianti has to make its mind up - do they want the customers to come for the service or stay home in the heat.